Governors Island is the place to celebrate this Fourth of July! Bring a picnic, go for a scenic bike ride, wave to the Statue of Liberty from the top of Outlook Hill or just take a peaceful nap in a hammock. Swing by Threes Brewing at Liggett Terrace all afternoon for a special July 4th BBQ with Popina! Learn more about the Island and its history with the U.S. Army and Coast Guard at Castle Williams, half of Governors Island National Monument, on a tour led by a National Park Service Ranger.
We’ll be open until 6:00 PM on July 4, running increased ferry service from Manhattan to Soissons Landing. Due to planned harbor closures for the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks display, Governors Island will close at 6:00 PM on 7/4 and will not be open for fireworks viewing.See the full schedule here and note the important July 4 ferry times below. Happy Fourth!
July 4, 2019 – Manhattan ferry times First ferry to Governors Island: 10:00 AM Last ferry to Governors Island: 4:20 PM Last ferry off of Governors Island – all visitors must be aboard: 6:00 PM
July 5 is the second First Friday of the season, when houses in Nolan Park and Colonels Row open in the evening so visitors can peruse their programs and check out special evening events. These programs will be open 6-8pm for July’s First Friday:
Do you love hanging out in Hammock Grove, watching the clouds go by? Imagine visiting the Island thirty years from now–Hammock Grove will be a forest! Where you once gazed up at the clouds, you’ll instead be shaded by a canopy of leaves, enclosed in a forest on an Island in the heart of New York City...
Members help fund critical care of Governors Island’s 120 acres of open space–Hammock Grove included–ensuring the Island will remain a beautiful place to visit for generations. Every member makes an impact. For example:
$50 membership supports the purchase of native wildflower seeds so we can build a healthy ecosystem to support the young trees as they grow
$100 membership will help us clear and maintain gardener access paths so our team can monitor and tend to the young trees
$250 membership will help the Friends grow our gardening team so we can keep the Island’s landscapes vibrant all year
Our new passenger ferry, the Governors 1, is ready to set sail! Governors 1 will serve 400 passengers per trip between Lower Manhattan and Governors Island, increasing our capacity to transport an additional 1,000 passengers per hour. The new vessel will officially go into service on weekends beginning this Saturday, June 15 and will make trips between the Battery Maritime Building and Soissons Landing, increasing service to approximately every 20 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays during the public season. The ferry will also serve both current and future tenants of the Island including students at the New York Harbor School, residents and staff of the soon to open Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island, along with seasonal cultural programming organizations and vendors.
Governors 1 was built by Blount Boats, Inc., a family-owned shipyard led by Marcia Blount, based in Warren, Rhode Island and celebrating their 70th anniversary this year. 132 feet long and 40 feet wide, the single passenger deck vessel is powered by two 800 horsepower engines and will travel at speeds up to 14 knots, shortening dock to dock travel time between Lower Manhattan and Governors Island to about five minutes. It was built using 450,000 pounds of steel, making it roughly the same weight as the Statue of Liberty!
This month, students in the vessel operations class at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, located on Governors Island, and their instructors joined our ferry crew aboard Governors 1 to shadow training exercises. The students, all in their sophomore year, have been engaging directly with maritime operators throughout the semester as part of their hands-on curriculum. To help illustrate how a vessel like Governors 1gets ready for public service, Governors Island staff and the crew took the students through all aspects of daily operations, including start-up procedures in the engine room, man-overboard drills in the passenger cabin and even public service announcements from the pilot house.
Thank you to the Harbor School students, instructors and Principal Jeff Chetirko for helping to prep for Governors 1’s maiden voyage across New York Harbor. To learn more about the New York Harbor School, visit newyorkharborschool.org. See the new ferry schedule here. Welcome aboard!
June 3, 2019 - The Trust for Governors Island today announced the opening of its next project as part of its annual public art commission program. Open June 1, the Trust presents Church, and immersive, contemplative work by Shantell Martin, who enlivens the façade of Our Lady Star of the Sea, a former military chapel, deconsecrated for over 20 years and located in the Island’s Historic District. The season-long exhibition will be on view daily through October 31. Expanded, site-specific programming related to Martin’s work will open in Fall, 2019.
“We are thrilled to be working with Shantell Martin for our 2019 commission, whose performative drawings will be in direct conversation with the movement of the Island and its community of visitors,” said Meredith Johnson, Vice President of Art and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island. “This immersive work will act as a dynamic and unifying marker in the Island’s landscape, fostering discussion, meditative exploration and cross-disciplinary collaboration.”
Bringing new life to Our Lady Star of the Sea, Martin uses her signature black and white drawings to create a living, visible beacon in the Island’s Historic District. Inspired by her personal experiences and research on the vibrant history of the Island, Church invites visitors to circumnavigate the former chapel’s architecture through image and narrative, engaging with the dynamism of the landscapes that surround it. In this way, the work serves to highlight and help reimagine a building that has long been empty and closed to the public. Reflecting upon the building’s history, Martin’s large-scale drawing pays tribute to the disused former military structure and honors its legacy as a place of great significance on the Island during its half-century of active use.
Built in 1942, Our Lady Star of the Sea originally opened as a Catholic chapel during the Second World War and the expansion of the former U.S. Army base. Serving as a central hub of religious activity on the Island along with nearby St. Cornelius Chapel, Our Lady Star of the Sea remained in use until 1996 when the U.S. Coast Guard ceased operations on Governors Island. Deconsecrated for over 20 years, the former chapel is one of the few non-landmarked buildings located within the Governors Island Historic District. Martin’s project brings new life and visibility to the former chapel for the first time in years.
Expanding and evolving throughout Governors Island’s public season, in Fall, 2019 the Trust will host weekend programming that is free and open to the public, including poetry readings and events. Additional programming will launch in September, including a partnership with the Poetry Society of America, who will curate three free readings inspired by Martin’s work.
Below the surface of Shantell Martin’s signature black and white drawings is an artist’s inquiry into the role of artist and viewer, where a work of art is more than an object of admiration disconnected from its inception. With a meditative process defined by an uninhibited flow, her compositions embody her internal state and the impermanence of the world around her. Exploring themes such as intersectionality, identity and play, Martin is a cultural facilitator, forging new connections between fine art, education, design, philosophy and technology. London born and New York-based, Martin’s body of work includes solo shows at the New York City Ballet, the 92nd Street Y Gallery, the Albright Knox Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA). She currently teaches as an adjunct professor at NYU’s ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) – where she works with her students to push the boundaries of storytelling, visual art and technology – and is a former MIT Media Lab Scholar.
This year’s commission is co-curated by Meredith Johnson, the Trust’s VP of Arts and Culture and Shane Brennan, the Trust’s Director of Public Programs. Since opening to the public in 2005, The Trust has worked with dozens of artists and arts and cultural organizations from across New York City to bring a robust calendar of commissions, exhibitions and events to the Island’s diverse audience. The Trust’s commissioning program gives artists the opportunity to engage with audiences through site-specific projects responding to the Island’s unique conditions.
Previous commissions on Governors Island include Rachel Whiteread’s Cabin, a permanent work sited on Discovery Hill within the Island’s park space, and Day is Done, a large-scale instrumental sound installation by Susan Philipsz. In 2011-2012 Storm King Art Center sponsored an exhibition of 12 monumental works by Mark di Suvero throughout the Island. Governors Island’s commissioning program was relaunched as an annual series in 2017 with Rock, Mosquito and Hummingbird, a winding sculptural installation by David Brooks telling the story of the Island’s ‘pre-history’ through continuous rock core samples assembled in historic Fort Jay. In 2018, Jacob Hashimoto’s 15,000 delicate bamboo and paper kites filled Trinity Church and Never Comes Tomorrow, a colorful, whimsical outdoor installation, hung overhead in the landmark Liggett Hall Archway. The latter work is being extended through October 31 of this year.
Generous support for Shantell Martin on Governors Island is provided by Charina Endowment Fund and The O’Grady Foundation. Additional support is provided by Pullman.
Follow Shantell Martin on Instagram and Twitter at @shantell_martin.
UPDATED June 5, 2019 – The Trust for Governors Island and Film at Lincoln Center announced today its lineup of free outdoor movie screenings for the 2019 season.For its second year, Film at Lincoln Center will curate three outdoor screenings throughout the season, inspired by the city we all call home. This year’s outdoor film series will take place on the Island’s historic Parade Ground, an eight-acre lawn with expansive open views of Lower Manhattan. The series will be produced by Rooftop Films.
The films featured in this year’s edition of “Escape in New York” celebrate all the ways in which our city, like cinema itself, provides visitors, new arrivals, and lifelong residents alike with infinite avenues of escape: from the humdrum routines of a straitlaced existence, from the frustrations and indignities of childhood, and from the pain of one’s own past. This season’s series will kick off with a screening of School of Rock on Friday, June 14. Other films to be showcased include Martin Scorsese’s dark comedy classic After Hours and Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, each paired with an independent short film by a local filmmaker selected by Film at Lincoln Center’s programming team.
“In 2018, our inaugural film series presented in partnership with Film at Lincoln Center was a huge success, giving new audiences the opportunity to spend evenings on Governors Island, experiencing in iconic NYC films with the iconic skyline of Lower Manhattan as a backdrop,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Arts and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island. “We are thrilled to dive into year two of this landmark series, solidifying the Island and the center of New York Harbor as the best place in the city to watch a movie under the stars.”
“As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2019, we are offering a variety of exciting summertime Film at Lincoln Center events, and we're delighted that our continuing series of outdoor screenings at Governors Island can be part of these celebrations,” said Lesli Klainberg, Executive Director of Film at Lincoln Center. “These free events recall the origins of our organization, when we produced Films in the Parks, outdoor screenings around the city in the 1970s. We’re thrilled to again work with the Governors Island team, and we expect to build upon the excitement we created last year with this new slate of films.”
Screenings will be free and open to the public with
pre-show entertainment including a DJ kicking off at 6pm and the films
beginning at dusk. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at each
screening, including a beer garden by Threes Brewing, food by Perros y Vainas,
People’s Pops, Melt Bakery, Makina Café, Gary’s Steaks and more.
During outdoor screenings, evening ferry service will run from Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, located at 10 South Street, departing Lower Manhattan at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30pm. Ferries will return to Lower Manhattan from Soissons Landing at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00pm.
June 14:School of Rock (Richard Linklater, 2003, 108m), preceded by Mr. Yellow Sweatshirt (Pacho Velez & Yoni Brook, 2017, 8m)
July 12:After Hours (Martin Scorsese, 1985, 98m), preceded by Ada (Eleanore Pienta, 2018, 11m)
This weekend, get your first taste of summer in the harbor. Memorial Day weekend kicks off our peak season with longer hours, special programs and more ways to enjoy your favorite Island escape.
Stay out late on Governors Island when our late-night hours begin this Friday, May 24. Every Friday and Saturday night through August 31, we’re open until 10 PM. Come out to enjoy the sunset over The Hills, grab dinner in Liggett Terrace and enjoy a nightcap with stunning skyline views at Soissons Landing, or just take a scenic stroll in the cool evening air. See which vendors stay open for late hours on our Food page and keep an eye on our Things To Do page for exciting special events happening at night.
We’re making it even easier to get to the Island this weekend with additional Brooklyn ferry service. Saturday through Monday, ferries will run between our Yankee Pier and Brooklyn’s Pier 6 every half hour until the evening. NYC Ferry’s shuttle service between Pier 11/Wall St. and Yankee Pier also begins this Saturday, running weekends to get you to our shore from all over the city’s waterways.
Indulge yourself at special guest food trucks open all weekend on Colonels Row. Grab a classic cheesesteak at Gary’s Steaks, tuck into Wings Lovers’ chicken wings or chow down on Korean BBQ tacos at Kimchi Taco. Hungry Island-goers will be satisfied to hear that our vendors will be serving up their specialties on Monday, including Island Oyster and Taco Vista at Soissons Landing, all of the phenomenal offerings at Liggett Terrace and Three Peaks Lodge at Collective Retreats. Sea Biscuit, a new outpost of Little Eva’s on the western promenade south of Castle Williams, opens for the season this weekend to serve up frozen drinks and small plates in a scenic waterfront setting.
Governors Island is the perfect Memorial Day destination for families with kids. Besides Slide Hill and the Liggett Terrace play areas, play:ground NYC’s The Yard and Art Force 5 will both be open every day this weekend. Kids can also jump into a fun, free program imagining and building sustainable energy machines with Koko NYC on Sunday and Monday. The whole family can play together at Adventures at GI’s mini golf course, adventure maze, challenge wall and zipline.
If you’d rather take it easy (or just need a break from having so much fun), you can always relax in our gorgeous new parkland. Walk up into the Hills to take in a panoramic view of New York Harbor, bring a picnic and spread out on our rolling lawns, or kick back in an Adirondack chair or in a secluded spot in Hammock Grove.
Memorial Day is also the perfect time to visit Castle Williams, a former Army fortification that's now part of Governors Island National Monument. You can show yourself around or join a National Park Service Ranger for guided tours at 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM every day.
Even though it isn’t quite summer yet, we think there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate the season. With so much to do on Governors Island this Memorial Day weekend, you might have to come back twice!
OPEN MONDAY 5/27 (Memorial Day):
Food and beverage vendors Island Oyster (plus late nights Friday and Saturday) Taco Vista (plus late nights Friday and Saturday) Little Eva’s (plus late night on Saturday) Joe Coffee Makina Café (plus late night on Saturday) Perros Y Vainas (plus late night on Saturday) People’s Pops Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights (plus late night on Saturday) Melt Bakery (plus late nights Friday and Saturday) Sea Biscuit (plus late night on Saturday) Three Peaks Lodge at Collective Retreats (plus late nights Friday and Saturday) Gary’s Steaks (special guest on Colonels Row) Wings Lovers (special guest on Colonels Row) Kimchi Taco (special guest on Colonels Row)
May 22, 2019. Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the nomination of Clare Newman as President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. Newman is a lifelong New Yorker with extensive experience in strategic planning, real estate development and public private partnerships and a demonstrated passion for mission-focused projects. She comes to Governors Island with a strong vision for its future and a deep appreciation of the unique character that makes the Island so special.
Newman will be responsible for directing and managing all of Governors Island’s activities and operations, and supporting the development of Governors Island as a vibrant, year-round destination for recreation, innovation, and culture. Newman’s nomination will be voted on by the Trust for Governors Island Board of Directors on June 19, 2019.
“Governors Island is the jewel of New York Harbor – and Clare is the perfect person to unlock its potential. With her programming and planning experience, Clare will implement innovative projects to attract more New Yorkers to the island year-round while planning for its bright future,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“Governors Island is one of New York City’s great public resources—a vital destination for residents from across the city. As a life-long New Yorker, I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary place,” said Clare Newman. “I’m eager to foster development that will turn the Island into a 24/7 center of economic and cultural activity, and I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Been for this opportunity to build on all the work that has quickly brought the Island back into the city’s fabric.”
“We're excited to have Clare bring her expertise overseeing the largest expansion of the Brooklyn Navy Yard since WWII to Governor's Island," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "Clare has the vision, and track record, to bring new cultural experiences, improve access across incomes, and plan for the threats the island faces due to climate change, benefiting New Yorkers for years to come."
“Clare brings a longstanding track record, commitment and experience in delivering transformative, mission-driven projects across the City and is well suited to realize Governors Island’s full potential as an extraordinary place for all New Yorkers to visit, work, learn and enjoy year-round ” said Carl Weisbrod, Chair of the Board of the Trust for Governors Island. “I look forward to working closely with Clare, the Trust board and staff in building upon the successes of the Island’s transformation and expanding investment in the Island as a hub of culture, recreation, innovation and learning.”
"Clare Newman is a visionary, a placemaker, and a true New Yorker who will work tirelessly to maintain Governors Island's unique, funky character while crafting a plan for its strategic development," said Alicia Glen, former Deputy Mayor and incoming Chair of the Trust for Governors Island. "Clare will draw on her extensive experience in planning, development, programming and design to ensure that the Island is a crown jewel for all New Yorkers to enjoy."
"Clare Newman is well-known in New York City as a dedicated and highly capable public servant - among the best of the best," said Marc Ricks, Chair of the Friends of Governors Island. “We at the Friends are thrilled with her appointment and look forward to working closely with her and the rest of the Trust staff and board to ensure that Governors Island reaches its full potential as a year-round destination for all New Yorkers."
“As the Council Member representing Governors Island, I have worked closely with the Trust to make the island an indispensable resource for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Today, this space is a crown jewel in New York Harbor providing a valuable array of cultural and educational programming, outdoor events and recreation activities for the thousands of visitors the island welcomes every year. I congratulate President Clare Newman who—as the former Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation—brings precisely the type of experience needed to steer Governors Island towards further success.”
About Clare Newman
Clare Newman serves as Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC). As Chief of Staff, Newman oversees the Planning, Development, External Affairs, Transportation and Design & Construction departments and works on strategic initiatives. Newman’s focus has been on implementing projects that, together, will bring 10,000 jobs to the Yard by 2020, and on planning for future development. Newman previously worked at Bloomberg Philanthropies where she was a senior leader on the Government Innovation team. In that role she led the Mayors Challenge, an international competition to inspire and incentivize cities to generate innovative ideas to solve major urban challenges. Prior to joining Bloomberg Philanthropies, Newman was a Vice President at New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Real Estate division. There she worked with government, not-for-profit, and private sector partners to lead development projects and other City initiatives. In her over five years at NYCEDC, Clare executed projects throughout the five boroughs, including the restoration of the Loews Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn, the City’s bike share program, and the Applied Sciences tech-campus initiative.
Newman received a Masters of Urban Planning from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University and a B.A. with honors in Political Economy from Williams College. She is a member of the board of TransitCenter and a member of New York Women Executives in Real Estate.
change impacts ecosystems in ways that might not be visible if you don’t know
what to look for. Species and habitats can disappear without making a sound.
Sam Van Aken, a sculptor and multidisciplinary artist who is the Graduate Program Coordinator for the School of Art at Syracuse University, wants to reintroduce us to what we don’t know we’ve lost. Climate change and industrialized agriculture have reduced the biodiversity of plant life in the United States to a shocking degree. While a century ago the U.S. boasted over 3,000 distinct varieties of peach tree, there are now under 100. In his new project, The Open Orchard, Van Aken seeks to restore and preserve some of New York’s lost biodiversity and all its delicious benefits. The Open Orchard will plant 50 hybridized trees on Governors Island, each one bearing multiple varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and apples once native to the area but that have since disappeared. His vision for the project combines artistic expression and environmental stewardship into a sprawling public artwork that’s also a shared resource for generations to come.
The ancient art of tree grafting, which Van Aken uses to create his hybrid trees, involves stitching multiple fruit tree varieties together into a single tree that bears different fruit on each of its grafted branches. The results are not only beautiful and delicious (trees bursting with rainbows of flowers and yielding entire fruit salads) but an ingenious way to preserve vanishing fruit varieties. Van Aken is already growing 200 of these trees in a nursery on Governors Island. When The Open Orchard is planted over the next few years, 50 of them will remain on the Island to create the artwork, which doubles as a fully functioning orchard, and 150 will be distributed to community gardens across the city to spread the benefits of the project and further safeguard the included varieties.
We launched a Kickstarter campaign to help us bring The Open Orchard to life, and we hit our funding goal! We've introduced a stretch goal to donate 100 more trees to NYC community gardens. Learn more and help us plant the seeds of this remarkable, vital project here. Thank you to everyone who has backed the project so far!
On May 4th, the Friends of Governors Island hosted the first annual ShinDIG! Throughout the day over 500 community members pitched in to help get the Island ready for the season ahead. Thank you to all who helped the Friends keep Governors Island vibrant.
Removed 4,350 gallons of invasive species, making room for native plants to flourish and contribute to the Island’s healthy ecosystem
Weeded 5,000 square feet in Liggett Terrace, ensuring it remains a beautiful place for visitors to enjoy delicious food or splash in the play fountains
Removed 3,000 gallons of overgrown grasses in the Hills, encouraging new growth and protecting the habitats of friendly insects and birds
Distributed 800 gallons of mulch to the Liggett Terrace Play Area and Slide Hill, so kids (and adults!) can play safely
Harvested thousands of seeds from flowers grown on the Island, so we can continue to support the growing biodiversity of the Island
Worked with the Billion Oyster Project to clean and prepare 150 bags of oyster shells that will be used to create new oyster habitats and help restore our Harbor.
Cleared 220 gallons of dead leaves and weeds from The Lavender Field, ensuring a fragrant, purple summer to come.
Weeded and cleaned the garden at the Harbor School, creating a beautiful recess spot for 450 public high school students.
All of the 10,350 gallons of plant material we collected will be composted by our friends at Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center, where it will be made into rich fertilizer that goes back into our landscapes as part of the Island’s zero-waste initiative.
With your help, we accomplished a lot! But there’s more to do to keep this oasis in the Harbor beautiful and healthy. Here’s how you can get involved to help care for the Island:
April 2, 2019. New York, NY. The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust) today announced its six-month public season along with its full lineup of programming and activities. Beginning May 1, New Yorkers and visitors alike are invited to enjoy the Island’s open space with unparalleled views of New York Harbor, car-free recreational activities and an expansive calendar of events and public programs just a quick ferry ride from Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. This year, Governors Island will be open daily from May 1 to October 31, with extended late-night hours every Friday and Saturday between Memorial and Labor Day. Ferries will be free for all visitors during the first week of the season, Wednesday, May 1 to Sunday, May 5.
“We’re excited to kick off another season for New Yorkers to experience the culture and natural beauty of Governors Island,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With a new ferry and extended hours, more New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the Island than ever before.”
“Governors Island continues to bring an easy and affordable escape to all New Yorkers right in the heart of the city,” said Michael Samuelian, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “We’re proud to continue to expand access to this Island oasis with the arrival of our brand-new ferry and even more evening hours this season. With new and improved dining options and even more cultural and educational partners from across the city, we are adding more and more amenities to complement the Island’s amazing views and vibrant park.”
This season, public hours will expand with late nights every Friday and Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The Island will remain open until 10:00pm those evenings, allowing visitors to enjoy delicious food and cocktails from Island vendors, beautiful open space and special events surrounded by the incredible nighttime New York skyline. Additional evening arts and cultural programming will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition to expanded hours, expanded ferry access comes to Governors Island this season. Beginning in June, visitors will be ferried to the Island by a new addition to the Trust’s fleet: a brand-new, 400-passenger ferry. Built to serve flexible routes and support the ever-expanding events and services offered, as well as future activation ofGovernors Island into a year-round destination, the new vessel will increase frequency of trips between Lower Manhattan and Soissons Landing on weekends, with service approximately every 20 minutes, carrying an additional 1,000 passengers per hour. A new weekend ferry schedule will be announced in the coming weeks and will go into effect in June.
“Governors Island has continued to grow into a welcoming green space, and I am thrilled to see all of the new amenities that will be available to the public this summer season,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I hope all New Yorkers will take advantage of the increased ferry service, extended hours, many food vendors, and free events that will take place there this season.”
“I am thrilled to invite my fellow New Yorkers to take advantage of all that Governors Island has to offer as it launches its 2019 season of activities. With 70 free events and a new ferry, even more families will have an opportunity to explore and relax on this iconic sanctuary of lush green space, unbeatable waterfront views, and eye-opening art. I thank the Trust for Governors Island and all its community and arts partners for their collaborative work to preserve this haven for culture, recreation and discovery,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.
Events on the Island start soon after opening day, with the 1st Annual Opening Weekend ShinDIG, a community volunteer event and opening celebration hosted by the Friends of Governors Island on May 4. Special events kick into high gear in June, with the 14th iteration of the Jazz Age Lawn Party, the world’s largest prohibition-era gathering with live music, dancing and more, and the freeform folk festival Porch Stomp. Events featured later in summer include the New York City Poetry Festival in July, the Japan Performing Arts Festival in August and the Vendy Awards, a fierce competition featuring the best of New York City street food. New to Governors Island this year is the Longines Global Champions Tour, one of the world’s most exciting and competitive equestrian series, coming to New York City for the first time ever in September.
“Governors Island continues to be a beacon of joy and openness in our crowded city,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “We’re thrilled to kick off the season with our first-ever ShinDIG on May 4, a spring celebration that invites New Yorkers of all ages to lend a hand in caring for our shared oasis in the harbor. And this is just the first of so many fun, free activities and events that will engage and delight visitors this year.”
More events will be announced throughout the season.
The Trust today also announced new vendors who will expand Governors Island’s culinary offerings this season in Liggett Terrace Food Court. Brooklyn-based Threes Brewingwill open a new outpost, located in Liggett Terrace that will serve a selection of beer & wine. As part of their involvement this season, they will launch a special beer to serve on the island, Public Property, with 10% of the proceeds donated. Neapolitan Express, the Island’s first pizza vendor, will bring its 100% alternative energy powered truck to serve Neapolitan-style pizzas, salads, sandwiches, coffee and pastries seven days per week. Makina Café will serve traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean food with a modern twist, including a range of vegan and vegetarian options. Perros Y Vainas will bring traditional “Perros Calientes” (or hot dogs) and other Venezuelan treats. Joe Coffee, Melt Bakery and People’s Pops will offer ice cream, dessert, coffee and pastries. Caribbean eatery Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights and Red Hook-based Little Eva’s Beer Garden Grill will return.
Vendors announced today responded to a Call for Proposals for food and beverage establishments issued in early 2019. Waterfront restaurants Island Oyster and Taco Vista will return this season, located near the Manhattan Ferry Landing. This season, Island Oyster will host live music on the second and last Saturday of each month between June and August.
ARTS, CULTURE & LEARNING
A diverse range of season-long, free exhibitions spanning visual arts, performance, culture and science in the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row will open between May and June. Over three dozen organizations bring free, public programs to the Island’s historic homes, including returning organizations like the Climate Museum, NYC Audubon, 4heads and the New Art Dealers Alliance, who will open NADA House on May 2, a new program featuring 45 artists from NADA Member galleries and non-profits in an expanded format across 34 rooms in three historic houses.
New cultural programs to Governors Island this year include the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Pioneer Works, the American Indian Community House, the Climate Reality Project and the Human Impacts Institute, opening in Nolan Park in June. Visitors will be able to peruse a diverse array of free exhibitions, workshops, performances, artist talks and demonstrations every weekend of the season. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s newly expanded Arts Center will open its doors in September, with inaugural programming focused on themes of ecology and sustainability including site-specific exhibitions by Yto Barrada and Michael Wang, plus Open Studios and related public events surrounding the Center’s signature Artist Residency programs and work developed in the space.
Beginning May 4 at the Island’s Urban Farm, visitors will have the opportunity to engage first-hand in programs that span environmental stewardship and sustainability, including the return of GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden and Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center and Soil Start Farm. The Island Bee Project’s Bee Sanctuary expands their family to 80,000 honeybees with the addition of a new hive this year in partnership with the Honeybee Conservancy. Artist Mary Mattingly’s food accessibility awareness project, Swale, returns with an indoor exhibition in Nolan Park and a new outdoor food forest in the Urban Farm, featuring over 400 edible plants.
Visitors will also once again be able to enjoy guided programs exploring the rich history of the Governors Island National Monument. Fort Jay and Castle Williams will be open throughout the summer. The National Park Service will offer frequent ranger-led tours and many exciting programs. Visit www.nps.gov/GOIS for more information about upcoming tours and hours.
“Come and join the National Park Service at Governors Island National Monument starting on May 1, 2019,” said Shirley McKinney, Superintendent of Manhattan Sites for the National Park Service. “We are excited to welcome visitors to the monument to enjoy the wonderful views to NYC from Castle Williams and Fort Jay. I encourage all to discover more about Governors Island's magnificent history!”
In addition to free weekly walking tours, this year the Trust, in collaboration with Urban Archive, will launch a free self-guided mobile history tour. Merging technology with archival photographs owned by the Trust, Library of Congress and other institutions, Urban Archive’s app will take users on a historical journey around Governors Island. Users will learn details about the Island’s history, from its earliest inhabitants, the Lenape to its strategic position as a military installation, to its present-day transformation, while viewing stunning photographs from the Island’s past and seeing firsthand how its features have evolved over centuries. This unique self-guided experience will be available beginning in May. For more information, visit www.urbanarchive.nyc.
For a full lineup of ongoing programs, click here.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT GOVERNORS ISLAND’S 2019 SEASON
Governors Island is open every day from May 1 through October 31. On weekdays, the Island is open from 10 AM to 6 PM. On weekends and holidays, the Island is open from 10 AM to 7 PM. On Friday and Saturday evenings between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, the Island will be open until 10 PM.
Ferries will run from Lower Manhattan every day from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street. Direct service from Brooklyn will run from Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturdays, Sundays, Memorial Day and Labor Day.
All weekday and weekend afternoon ferries from Brooklyn and Manhattan are $3 round trip for adults. Children under 12, IDNYC holders and Governors Island Members ride for free at all times and senior citizens’ fares are $1.
Morning ferries (10 AM, 11 AM and 11:30 AM from Manhattan and 11 AM and 11:30 AM from Brooklyn) on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles at any time.
Visitors will be able to purchase ferry tickets at the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan or at Pier 6 in Brooklyn. Only cash is accepted.
Ferries will be free for all visitors during the first week of the season, from May 1-May 5.
Beginning Memorial Day weekend, the city’s NYC Ferry service will offer additional connections to Governors Island’s Yankee Pier via a dedicated service from Wall Street/Pier 11. For ticketing information and for a full schedule, please visit www.ferry.nyc.
Welcome Centers are located at both Soissons Landing and Yankee Pier on Governors Island.
Visitors can pick up an information guide, receive personalized assistance on the day’s activities from our friendly Visitor Services team, purchase souvenirs and Island essentials like sunscreen and cold drinks and learn about membership and volunteer programs.
Soissons Landing Welcome Center hours: Wednesday-Friday 10AM-4PM Saturday-Sunday 10AM-5PM
Yankee Pier Welcome Center hours: Saturday-Sunday 10AM-5PM
Every day, visitors can bring their own bikes, or rent one while visiting. Blazing Saddles offers visitors over 500 bikes and 60 surreys for rental, and on weekday mornings offers an hour of free cruiser bike rentals. For the 2019 season, Blazing Saddles will expand to include pedal cars, scooters, and balance bikes for families with small children. Citi Bike kiosks can be found at Soissons Landing, Yankee Pier and Picnic Point. Visit govisland.org for more information.
Kayakers can access the Island’s kayak dock at Pier 101. The Downtown Boathouse will also offer free kayaking sessions to visitors of all skill levels on Saturdays from June 15 to September 14, 11am-4pm. For more information, visit www.downtownboathouse.org.
Gatherings and Grills
Visitors may reserve grills for gatherings, parties, reunions or any celebration when the Island is open to the public. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance and are booked on a first come, first served basis. All applicants will be charged a $26 non-refundable fee. For more information and to apply visit www.govisland.org/permits.
Adventures at Governors Island
Adventures at Governors Island is New York City’s premiere summer destination for thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts of all ages, open daily. This unique “pop-up” amusement park currently features four exciting amusements, including a zipline, climbing challenge, maze and mini-golf course. For more information, visit www.adventuresgovisland.com.
Collective Governors Island
Collective Retreats offers unique, seasonal lodging on Governors Island, offering both full hotel-style service and premium select service accommodations as well as experiential dining. The retreat offers a full-service restaurant and bar open to the public as well as public lawn space featuring yoga classes available on the weekends and lawn games. For more information on class times, accommodation booking and other events visit www.collectiveretreats.com.
About The Trust for Governors Island
The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust's mission is to transform Governors Island into a vibrant resource for New York City, making this island at the center of New York Harbor a destination with extraordinary public open space, as well as educational, not-for-profit and commercial facilities.
The National Park Service manages Governors Island National Monument, which consists of twenty-two acres, including the historic fortifications Castle Williams and Fort Jay. The Monument is one of twenty-two sites operated by the National Park Service in the New York City area. Its purpose is to preserve and protect Castle Williams and Fort Jay, and to interpret them and the harbor’s rich history and ecology for the public. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/gois.